Tragic Text Messages Famous People Sent Before Dying

People communicate differently than ever before in human history, so while in the olden days someone might have cherished a final letter they received from a loved one before they passed away, these days, the last communication you have with a friend or family member could easily be by text message. While it might be harder to tie those words up in a ribbon and put them away for safekeeping, you can still take out your phone and pull up their message at any time, thus making those final words just as important.

Celebrities are no different in that all the money in the world doesn't mean they can have everyone they love there when they are dying, or that they don't get in accidents and pass away completely unexpectedly. Whether it was the last text message they ever sent or just the last one a loved one ever received from them, here are the tragic text messages famous people sent before dying.

Seamus Heaney

When you think of celebrities, "poets" are probably not the first category of people to come to mind. But Seamus Heaney managed to become a household name even with that very esoteric career path. It helps that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, per Britannica. The Irishman died on August 30, 2013, after a short illness.

Because poetry is so precise, with each word needing to be absolutely perfect to get the writer's intention across in so few of them, people assumed that Heaney's last written words – in a text to his wife – must have just as much, if not more weight to them. His final text may have been analyzed for meaning more than his most famous poems. From his hospital bed, Heaney texted her "Noli timere" or "do not be afraid" in Latin, according to Fast Company. The search for deeper meaning in a simple, logical thing to text to one's spouse when dying – albeit with a poet's twist – was almost immediate, with NPR's "All Things Considered" discussing it at length a week later.

Two years after his father died, Mick Heaney wrote about that text in The Irish Times. He said that even though it wasn't rare for his father to text in Latin, the fact the words ended up being a fitting epitaph helped the Heaney family during that tough time.

Bob Saget

Bob Saget was a successful standup comedian, but for a whole generation of TV viewers, he would forever be known as Danny Tanner on "Full House." When they learned about Saget's death on January 9, 2022, thousands took to social media to remember him. Saget's final Instagram post showed how much he had to look forward to, before his sudden death from head trauma at 65, per The New York Times. After a performance, he wrote, "Okay, I loved tonight's show ... Really nice audience. Lots of positivity. ... I had no idea I did a two hour set tonight. I'm back in comedy like I was when I was 26. I guess I'm finding my new voice and loving every moment of it."

The same day his body was found, Saget's daughter Aubrey also took to social media with a screenshot of the final text she got from her dad the day before: "Thank u. Love u. Showtime!" (via E! News). His wife Kelly Rizzo had received a similarly caring final message: "I love you endlessly" (via The LA Times).

A few weeks later, on "The Today Show," his "Full House" co-star Candace Cameron Bure shared her last communications with Saget, two weeks before he died (via VT). After a small tiff, he texted her, "I was so wrong. You're like my favorite person on the earth ... I love you more for the trouble you're giving me if that's even possible."

Kim Jong-hyun

Kim Jong-hyun was known simply by the mononym Jonghyun as a K-pop idol and member of the band SHINee. But despite the adoration of fans around the world (and K-pop fans are particularly devoted), Kim was not in a good place. The life of a K-pop star is incredibly demanding, and after he died by suicide in December 2017, various messages Kim had sent friends and family outlining his severe depression brought this into stark focus.

According to The New York Times, he wrote to a friend that fame was essentially torture for him, saying, "Becoming famous was probably not my life. They tell me that's why I'm having a hard time ... Why did I choose that? It's funny that I'm able to endure this much." And on the day Kim died by suicide, aged 27, he sent final, heartbreaking text messages to his sister saying, "Please let me go. Tell me I did well" and "final farewell."

After his death, there was a huge outpouring of sadness from fans, who wrote about how much Kim meant to them on social media, and even held vigils in his memory.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Anthony Bourdain

The chef and writer Anthony Bourdain had a huge and devoted fanbase when he died by suicide in 2018 at the age of 61, per CNN. However, the love of strangers didn't fill Bourdain with the happiness regular people might assume that kind of fame would, and none of them could have known how he was struggling.

According to the unauthorized biography "Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain" (via The New York Times), his pain was evident in the texts he was sending before his death. A few days before he died, he sent a text to his ex-wife saying, "I hate my fans, too. I hate being famous. I hate my job. I am lonely and living in constant uncertainty." He also noted one of the major downsides of his notoriety, writing, "The [paparazzi] situation is horrendous."

Bourdain was also fighting with his partner Asia Argento, texting her, "I am not spiteful. I am not jealous that you have been with another man. I do not own you. You are free. As I said. As I promised. As I truly meant. But you were careless. You were reckless with my heart. My life." The night he died, after drinking alone, he texted her again asking, "Is there anything I can do?" When she replied angrily, he simply responded, "OK."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Taylor Hawkins

When the talented and much-beloved Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins died suddenly in March 2022, no one could believe it. The rock star was just 50 years old, and he was in the middle of a tour with the band. However, according to interviews Rolling Stone conducted with some who knew Hawkins well in the months after he died, the intense tour schedule might have been too much for him. Pearl Jam's drummer, Matt Cameron, said Hawkins had told him the pace and physical demands were becoming unbearable, and he might even have to step back from the band because of it. (Cameron would later partially walk his comments back once the article was released.)

Hawkins' cause of death still isn't clear at time of writing. What is known is that 50 was too young to lose someone in such seemingly good health. It was a reminder to many that life is short. And the final message the drummer sent to a celebrity friend was a tragic reminder of that.

After his friend's death, "Full House" actor John Stamos took to Twitter to share their last communication. He posted (via Too Fab), "This was Taylor Hawkins' last text to me: 'Ya We've yet to fully have a hang – Got a put that s*** together before we die.'" Stamos added, "Wise words from my friend – put that s*** together! I'm so f****** sad. Another one gone too soon."

Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman will forever be best known as Black Panther in the Marvel films. His performance touched and inspired so many people, so when his death from cancer at the age of 43 was announced in August 2020, the world was in shock – almost no one knew he had been unwell, including those closest to him.

Boseman's former co-star in the film "Marshall," Josh Gad posted screenshots of one of the last texts he got from his friend on Twitter (via Popcrush). It said in part, "If you are in Los Angeles, you woke up this morning to the rare and peaceful sound of steady precipitation. ... But now that the rain has stopped and today's storm has cleared, I urge you to go outside and take a DEEP breath. Notice how fresh the air is right now ... today's rain has given the City of Angels a long [overdue] and much-needed shower." Gad said the message reminded him to appreciate every moment.

"Black Panther" executive producer Nate Moore — who also had no idea about Boseman's illness — told People about how their last text exchange concerned the actor going above and beyond to fulfill the requests of a Make-a-Wish child during Covid-19 lockdown. Boseman wrote, "It broke me, man. We need to do that for them. People deserve abundant life, special moments. They've been through hell battling disease. If we were able to ease their suffering and bring joy for a moment ... then we made a difference in his life."

Nick Cordero

The early months of the Covid-19 pandemic were horrible and scary for any number of reasons, but seeing the worst of what others were going through online was certainly a low point. Even for those who had not yet been affected by the pandemic themselves, stories abounded on social media of the horrors it was bringing down on others. Even seeing people they didn't know suffer so badly was terrible.

Most people probably didn't know the name Nick Cordero before he came down with Covid-19, as the Tony nominee was most famous for his roles on Broadway, as The New York Times reported. But when he was one of the first celebrities to get very, very sick in April 2020, thousands started following the social media updates of his wife, Amanda Kloots. After three months in the hospital, much of it spent in an induced coma, and after doctors tried to save his life by amputating one of Cordero's legs, Kloots shared the tragic news that he had died.

Zach Braff, who starred in a musical with Cordero in 2014, posted a heartfelt message on Instagram, and included his final message from his good friend: "The last thing he ever texted me was to look out for his wife and one year old son, Elvis. I promise the world they will never want for anything" (via WFAA).

Cheslie Kryst

Before former Miss USA winner Cheslie Kryst died by suicide in January 2022, she texted her mother Alice Simpkins what was essentially her suicide note. Her mother later felt forced to share the heartbreaking messages for an even more tragic reason: to stop conspiracy theorists online from insisting Kryst was actually murdered.

When Simpkins appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith's "Red Table Talk" (via Business Insider), she said, "One thing I'd like to see laid to rest is this theory that Cheslie was murdered ... I know that my daughter died by suicide, and it's painful to hear people constantly contradict what we absolutely know."

Kryst was just 30 years old when she texted her mother her goodbyes – which Simpkins said her daughter did at a time she knew she wouldn't have her phone. Kryst wrote, "First, I'm sorry, by the time you get this I won't be alive anymore. And it makes me even more sad to write this because I know it will hurt you the most. You have kept me alive and ready to face another day because you answer every phone call and you are there for me at a drop of a hat. You are the perfect mom and I will love you forever, even in death."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Nipsey Hussle

Born Airmiess Joseph Asghedom, the rapper who went by Nipsey Hussle came to many people's attention when Jay-Z bought 100 physical copies of his "Crenshaw" mixtape for $100 each, according to Vox. However, by the time he died in 2019, the then-33-year-old was still only on the cusp of the major fame that almost certainly awaited him. He'd already started giving back to his community, though, and was active in anti-gang organizations in his native Los Angeles. It was an issue Hussle understood personally, having been an active member of the Crips branch the Rollin' 60s when he was younger.

But on March 31, 2019, his life was cut short after an argument with another man in LA. The man later tracked Hussle down and shot him dead.

At the funeral, attended by stars like Snoop Dogg and Stevie Wonder, Hussle's mother Angelique Smith gave a moving eulogy about her son's life, per Page Six, and used his final text to her on the day he died to show how much potential he had. "My heart feels as if there's possibly heaviness in your heart and soul," she recalled texting Hussle. "No mom. I'm A-1. I'm grateful I have a studio again. I'm just happy and ready to work," he told her.

John Madden

Even if you don't follow football, you've almost certainly heard of John Madden. An icon of the sport, he sadly never got to play in the NFL despite being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles due to a knee injury, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. He went on to have a successful coaching career, including 10 years as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, which included a Super Bowl win. After leaving coaching, he became arguably the voice of the game as an announcer. And a new generation of fans was born when the "Madden NFL" series of video games was released.

Madden's career was so iconic that on December 25, 2021, FOX broadcast a documentary on his life. Madden was proud enough to gather his whole extended family around him to watch the program together.

Per ESPN, after the broadcast, he also texted his old friend, the TV producer Richie Zyontz. Madden had effectively discovered Zyontz when he was a security guard, and brought him into the entertainment business. He even introduced Zyontz to his wife. So it's no surprise Madden reached out after watching a film about his own life, texting his friend, "Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thanks for everything you did to make this happen." Zyontz texted back, "Wish [the documentary] could have been even longer, John." "Thanks," Madden replied. "Everyone says it should have been longer."

Madden died three days later, aged 85.

Ryan Dunn

Considering Ryan Dunn came to fame on the show "Jackass," it's perhaps no surprise that he did some dangerous and stupid things in his life even before the show started. Fellow cast member Bam Margera recalled in 2011, "He flipped me in a car eight times ... in 1996. Thank God I had my seat belt on, because Chris Raab put one on me, but my brother didn't have one on. He flew 40 feet. Thank God he's alive. But like, Dunn was always a maniac at driving," per E! News.

So while it was a shock when Dunn died in a car accident on June 20, 2011, just days after his 34th birthday, it was perhaps not a huge surprise. The news, however, deeply affected Margera. "It was pretty much the worst news I've ever heard in my life," he said. Dunn's 30-year-old passenger Zachary Hartwell was also killed.

According to ABC News, toxicology reports would reveal that Dunn was over twice the legal limit and going up to 132 mph when he crashed his car. His blood alcohol level makes Dunn's final text to Margera shortly before he died particularly haunting: "Stopping for a beer, be there when I can."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

David Bowie

David Bowie was a musical powerhouse and icon, who broke boundaries in sound, style, and so much more during his life. While he did his most unforgettable work in the 1970s, the Encyclopedia Britannica notes that he made great music from the 1960s to just two days before he died on January 10, 2016, with the release of his final album, "Blackstar."

The timing was crushing to many fans, with the album proving that Bowie still had it, and if the 69-year-old hadn't died from cancer, he still had a couple more decades of great music in him.

And according to Bowie's ex-girlfriend Claudia Lennear, he thought he had time left to make more music even with his terminal cancer diagnosis. She told the tabloid The Daily Mail that she'd been working with Bowie for two years on an album. Lennear and Bowie had worked on music together before, in the 1970s, before they broke up and she left the music industry. But the album they had been collaborating on was supposed to be her comeback. "We had this very strange writing relationship," she claimed. "He was writing music and I was writing lyrics." It seemed this continued right up until Bowie died, as he texted her a few days before he died, "Send me some lyrics. Don't forget."

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant's sudden death in a helicopter crash in January 2020 was a shock to those even outside the sports world. Not only was the iconic player just 41, but he died alongside eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, per ESPN.

Bryant was close with many other giants of basketball, including Michael Jordan. He told the outlet that he would never be able to delete his final text conversation with his friend, which took place on December 8, 2019, about six weeks before Bryant died. "This tequila is awesome," Kobe texted (via FOX Sports), referring to a gift from Jordan. "Thank you, my brother," Jordan responded. They inquired about each other's families and promised to catch up soon. Then Jordan asked about Bryant's new job coaching his daughter's basketball team, texting, "Coach Kobe??!" Bryant replied proudly, "I'm sitting on the bench right now, and we're blowing this team out. 45-8."

Bryant was also close with Shaquille O'Neal and his son Shareef. According to BET, on the day Bryant died, at 8:19 a.m., he texted Shareef, "You good fam?" It wasn't until 10:58 a.m. that Shareef, who also played basketball, replied, "Yeah! Just getting this work in trying to figure out my next move." Tragically, Bryant never read the response, because, by then, he was already dead.